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FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited launched

FINCA, a global microfinance organisation, has announced the launch of FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited here on Monday. FINCA Microfinance Co-operative (UA), the Netherlands-based investment arm of FINCA, acquired in May 2013 a majority holding in the Pakistani bank formerly known as Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited KMBL. Following completion of all regulatory requirements, the bank has now been re-launched as FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited and has already begun a process of expansion within the country.

Currently operating in 51 locations across Pakistan, FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited plans to have branches and sales centres in 65 locations by the end of the year. The bank will continue to operate under the regulation of the State Bank of Pakistan.

While addressing the press conference, FINCA Global President and CEO Rupert Scofield said FINCA saw Pakistan's large population of hardworking entrepreneurial people as individuals and families who could prosper from their services. "We are honoured to introduce our global brand into a new market as welcoming and embracing of FINCA as Pakistan. We look forward to working with the local team to build a thriving, poverty-free Pakistan that will lead to improved quality of life for many hundreds of thousands people in the country," he added.

According to him, Pakistan meets all FINCA criteria. There are talented and dedicated microfinance providers, but in a nation of more than 180 million people (of whom more than 80 percent remain without access to quality financial services) there is clearly a major unmet need. And the State Bank of Pakistan has been internationally recognised as one of the most enabling and supportive regulatory bodies in the world for microfinance. The FINCA team first began exploring the possibility of entering Pakistan in April 2012. At every step along the way, the State Bank facilitated the process with the utmost courtesy and professionalism.

"But the factor that proved ultimately decisive in FINCA's entry into Pakistan was the opportunity to take the majority shareholder stake in the institution then known as Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited. When we met the team, toured the operation, visited clients, and generally carried out our due diligence, the FINCA team all recognised that in the Bank, we had found an ideal fit. Its mission, vision, and core values perfectly aligned with FINCA's. And, on April 19 the State Bank of Pakistan had approved the transaction by which FINCA acquired more than 80 percent of the shares of KMBL," he added.

While briefing about FINCA, Scofield said founded almost 30 years ago, FINCA is a pioneer of the modern microfinance industry and has been recognised throughout its history for innovation, efficiency, ethical practices, and an uncompromising focus on social performance. "FINCA's mission is to serve the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs, build assets, and improve their standard of living," he added.

Muhammad Mudassar Aqil, Chief Executive Officer of FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited, said the bank team feels a great sense of urgency to scale up outreach to many more of the over 80 percent of Pakistanis who currently lack access to effective financial services. "Now as part of the FINCA global family of companies, our bank combines our all-Pakistani team's deep local expertise with FINCA's global best practices and other resources. The transition to the FINCA brand name and visual identity will strengthen that powerful combination even further," he added.

According to him, the bank is the newest subsidiary in the FINCA global family of companies. The bank was launched in 2008 under its previous name, Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited, with a mission to alleviate poverty among the people of Pakistan by helping low-income entrepreneurs with enterprise loans and other financial services. Since then, the bank has disbursed more than Rs6.5 billion to more than 100,000 customers who have expanded small businesses and created jobs in their communities. The bank is a fully licensed deposit-taking microfinance bank regulated by the State Bank of Pakistan. The bank's loan portfolio is entirely funded by the savings of the more than 200,000 people who collectively have over Rs2.4 billion in deposits.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013


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